PostedJanuary 21, 2021 at 6:08 PM
Five baby zebra sharks, also called leopard sharks, were born between July and December in Nausicaá, the national sea center of Boulogne-sur-Mer, in northern France, as part of a European program of reproduction of this endangered species, the aquarium announced.
Arrived “very young” in 2011, the two adult sharks “have now reached their sexual maturity”. “They mated, and the keepers (…) quickly spotted”, recovered and transferred the eggs to an incubation tank, says the management.
Able to lay between two and five eggs at a time, some of which are unfertilized, the female lays “regularly, several times a year”, which explains the staggered birth of the babies, a spokesperson told AFP. In the nursery, the sharks are “fed mainly on prawns, knives and finely cut squid”, details Nausicaá.
Zebra shark eggs, “which look like stingray eggs, are keratin capsules in which embryos develop,” says the aquarium.
A video, posted on the centre’s Facebook page, shows handlers handling these oval and elongated eggs. At birth, this shark “measures about 30 cm” and sports “a striped dress” evoking that of a zebra. But the coat “evolves with growth, to become spotted”, hence the other name given to this shark, the leopard shark.
In the wild, this shark lives “mainly in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, near coral reefs”, evolving up to 60 meters deep but “more generally between 5 and 30 meters”. It feeds on molluscs, small fish and crustaceans and can measure up to 2.4 meters.
Harmless to humans, it is listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list as an “endangered” species, due to overfishing and the degradation of its natural habitat. .
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